By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
After his team suffered a rather humbling loss Saturday at Roy Kidd Stadium, EKU coach Dean Hood struggled to explain what he had just witnessed.
“There were just a lot of shocking things,” Hood said. “I know they are a good football team, but I didn’t think we would play that badly.”
The Colonels had a 24-14 lead in the second quarter after Christian Albertson returned a fumble 28 yards for a touchdown.
But, No. 21 Coastal Carolina scored 37 straight points and stunned the Colonels, 51-32, in front of a crowd of 14,500 in Richmond.
EKU (1-2) allowed 631 yards of total offense. The Chanticleers scored more points than any other opponent in the history of Roy Kidd Stadium, which opened in 1969.
“We haven’t had the ball run on us like that in forever. I thought they out-played us. I thought they out-coached us. That was just a good old-fashioned butt-whipping.”
The Colonels came into the game allowing just 66.5 yard a game rushing, which ranked eighth in the nation. Coastal Carolina had more than 200 yards rushing in the first half and finished with 339 yards on the ground.
Last week, the Colonels limited Louisville, the No. 7 team in the country, to just 75 yards on 28 attempts.
Coastal’s Lorenzo Taliaferro finished with 174 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries.
The Chanticleers (3-0) struck first, marching down the field with ease on their first two drives to take a 14-0 lead.
The Colonels responded quickly.
Quarterback Jared McClain scrambled out of the pocket and hit tight end Nathan Watts with a pass. Watts went 70 yards up the right sideline almost untouched for a touchdown.
“I was just hoping that no one was catching up to me,” Watts said.
With just nine seconds left in the first quarter, Andrew Lloyd hit a 30-yard field goal to cut the Coastal lead to 14-10.
Devin Borders caught a 7-yard TD from McClain early in the second quarter to give the Colonels their first lead of the game.
Just more than a minute later, Albertson gave the Colonels a 10-point lead.
EKU forced the Chanticleers to punt, but McClain was intercepted moments later and Travis Small scored on a 2-yard run to get Coastal back in the game.
The Colonels fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, which led to a game-tying field goal by Alex Catron.
“You can’t turn the ball over,” Hood said.
Taliaferro scored on an 11-yard run with 11 seconds left before halftime to help Coastal re-take the lead, 31-24.
“It turned quick, because it looked like we might blow them out, then all the sudden its a seven-point lead at halftime,” Hood said.
EKU punted on its first four possessions of the second half as Coastal took control. The Chanticleers scored on three-straight drives to take a 27-point lead.
“We should have scored when we went back out there (in the second half),” Watts said. “It just went downhill from there.”
The Colonels got a touchdown run from backup quarterback Kyle Romano with 40 seconds left in the game.
EKU racked up 477 yards of total offense, had 22 first downs and was 12-of-22 on third down.
Still, the Colonels couldn’t keep pace with the Coastal offense.
“We just didn’t execute,” McClain said. “Their defense played hard. The made some plays and we just didn’t make enough plays to win the game.”
McClain was 15-of-34 for 233 yards with two touchdowns. He also rushed a team-best 93 yards.
Jeff Glover had a team-best six catches for 49 yards and Borders had five catches for 78 yards.
The Chanticleers averaged 8.8 yards a play on 72 offensive snaps and had 25 first downs.
“It was just a team effort,” EKU defensive back Kiante Northington said. “We win together. We lose together.”
The Colonels are set to return to action Satuday at Morehead State.